the museum of americana

a literary review

Bigfoot Is a Close Relative—Poetry by Ronnie Sirmans

Now that DNA advances have verified
the existence of the elusive huge hominid, 
we learn Bigfoot is our closest living relative
(other than Uncle Leroy, who’s always stopping by, 
telling stale jokes, passing gas at inopportune times).
While we’ve discovered that chimps and humans
share about 99 percent similarity of their DNA, 
Bigfoot is at 99.7 percent, but such numbers
confirm nothing in the world can be absolute
(other than Aunt Sue’s disgust of spiders,
but even she says daddy longlegs might
not be fully scary, but still let’s not push it).
 

The genomic research says with certainty:
Bigfoot isn’t indigenous to North America.
The invasive species likely came here
via the Bering Strait or aboard a cargo ship
from either ocean when railroads were being
transformed into intercontinental passages.
Like deer, sheep, Bigfoot is singular, plural;
we don’t have Bigfoots or Bigfeet (okay,
you know I’ve got to say something about
cousin Robert’s big feet, have you seen
those clownish appendages? I think his
are almost worthy of capitalization too).
 

Bigfoot don’t have larger brains than we do,
which likely accounts for their being adaptable
to hiding so well, whereas we waste time wondering: 
Should I go behind that boulder, clamber up that tree,
crouch behind those bushes, or (you get my point:
being invisible not instinctual (that .3 DNA difference).)
Bigfoot have large hearts, pumping blood furiously 
to their elongated extremities as they stay on the move 
to ensure rarely being captured by shaky or blurry 
color or black-and-white celluloid over many years. 
If I may take note (which you likely saw coming
from a mile away, also about how far off Bigfoot
will appear in those home movies or videos): 
We have much bigger hearts. Than Bigfoot.
Than chimpanzees who used to be closest to us.
Is yours beating now as you ponder that fact? 
I hope there’s the da-dum, da-dum, da-dum. 
 

Our hearts can drum so loudly, it’d be useless
anyway for us to try once again to hide behind 
those azalea bushes when Uncle Leroy pulls
out his now old-fashioned video camera to start 
filming another family get-together. Remember 
when he showed us a decades-old home movie,
with some scenes from long ago turning jittery?
Aunt Sue said, “Look, isn’t that cousin Margaret
there on the far right? Didn’t she fall in love and run off
with the weird guy who tried to patent a video-telephone?”
Someone else said, “I’d heard that. Never met her.”
I squinted a bit as if trying to make a background shadow 
or blurred shape come into focus. “I guess she was real.”

~~~
Ronnie Sirmans is an Atlanta newspaper digital editor whose poetry has appeared this year in Deep South Magazine, Dime Show Review, As It Ought to Be Magazine, Sojourners, America, and elsewhere.